Master of Rimini

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(fl second quarter of the 15th century). Sculptor, probably of south Netherlandish origin. His name is derived from the alabaster Crucifixion altar from S Maria delle Grazie, Rimini (c. 1430; Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus). The altar was probably made for the church's consecration in 1432; it was later incorporated into a Baroque altar but may originally have been part of a shrine or a choir-screen. It comprises a centre section with the Crucifixion, the crosses of the Good and Bad Thieves and groups beneath. The Twelve Apostles are ranged in pairs on either side. The altar is generally agreed to have been made in the southern Netherlands or northern France, almost certainly in a workshop that specialized in producing alabaster sculpture for export. Stylistic comparison with early 15th-century Netherlandish painting such as the work of Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle confirms this hypothesis. The altar also reflects the evolution of Netherlandish sculpture during the early 15th century: from soft, graceful compositions to the more rigid forms that became popular in the mid–1430s. Also attributed to the Master of Rimini is the small alabaster Pietà in S Francesco, Rimini (the Tempio Malatestiano), known as the Madonna dell’Acqua. This was said to have miraculous powers over rainfall and became a focus of pilgrimage. Dated c. 1440, it is stylistically close to the later style of the Frankfurt altar. The same master may also have been responsible for a Pietà from Lorch am Rhein (Frankfurt am Main, Städel. Kstinst. & Städt. Gal.) and a statuette of St Christopher (ex-Mus. Civ., Padua; untraced after World War I). Defoer has further attributed an alabaster head of St John the Baptist now in St Willibrordus, Utrecht, to the Master of Rimini.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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